July 02, 2009
The rumors are hot and heavy around Vitor Belfort. His contract with Affliction is finished after Affliction: Trilogy on Aug. 1. Where we will he land? If he wins over Jorge Santiago, he's done a nice job of rebuilding his reputation and career with a drop down to middleweight. That win is gigantic. A loss against Santiago likely means less money and no shot at UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
"I'm just focused on fighting for Affliction," Belfort told Cagewriter. "We're waiting to see what comes next. I don't handle that. I'm really focused on training. I did that before and it messed up my career. Affliction has been very good to me."
Belfort is flattered that UFC president Dana White has expressed interest:
"I was very happy. We have a history in the UFC too. For sure UFC, has Anderson Silva. Makes me happy to see Dana White pumping my name up."
White spilled the beans in a national television spot during The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale that he wanted to set up a Silva-Belfort fight. He then told The Cofield & Cokin Show on ESPNRadio1100 that he had no interest in Belfort. White started talking about Belfort "a middleweight signing that will blow your minds" a few months ago. On Wednesday, Belfort turned down the chance to speak about a potential Silva fight or joining the UFC:
The former UFC light heavyweight champ did respond to claims by Gegard Mousasi that Belfort was afraid to fight him:
"Everybody has their goals and my goal is to fight at 185 right now. That's not the plan. If he dropped the weight, I'll fight him. If he wants to go up, that's his choice."
Affliction tried to set up a Mousasi-Belfort fight but both fighters refused to move away from their current weight division. Belfort said he thinks he's got a tougher fight against Jorge Santiago. Santiago has more seasoning and is well-rounded. Belfort said Mousasi is a little lucky to be in this position. Mousasi flew up the charts in the middleweight division after knocking off Dong Sik Yoon, Denis Kang, Melvin Mahoef and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza to win the 2008 DREAM middleweight grand prix. He just recorded an MMA win over heavyweight Mark Hunt.
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